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New Standards Help Paint Clearer Picture of Post-Graduation Career Outcomes

Undergraduate career outcomes for class of 2014 on par with national trends

EMM’s Career Center’s annual Career Outcomes report gives the most comprehensive look yet into the employment and graduate school outcomes for 2014 graduates. And for the first time, DePaul’s use of new standards and protocols allows bachelor’s degree outcomes to be benchmarked with institutions across the nation.

The National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE) developed the new standards and protocols for institutions nationwide to use in collecting and reporting “first-destination” career outcomes data from graduating students. Gillian Steele, executive director for EMM’s Career Center, represented DePaul on NACE’s First-Destinations task force and after 15 months of work and research, the final standards for bachelor’s degree outcomes were published in time for implementation for the class of 2014. 

The First-Destination Survey is the first-ever national post-graduation outcomes effort designed to provide clear, concise and consistent data on the career and educational outcomes from a college education on a national scale. This effort is timely given national attention to institutional assessments and improving career outcomes as a way to assess the value of higher education.

New Metrics Allow For More Meaningful Analysis
Instead of the traditional placement rate, the new survey measures a career outcomes rate, defined as the percentage of graduates engaged in a broad range of career outcomes. This covers the breadth of productive activity for graduates, including full- and part-time work, continuing education, voluntary service (including programs like City Year and Peace Corps), entrepreneurial ventures, contract and freelance work, and postgraduate internships or fellowships.

The new survey also encourages institutions to gather information about more graduates by including outcomes gathered from social media, primarily LinkedIn. Instead of simply reporting a survey response rate, the new measure is called the knowledge rate and indicates the percentage of graduates for whom the Career Center has knowledge of their first-destination career outcomes. DePaul’s knowledge rate for bachelor’s recipients is 79 percent; the rate for master’s recipients is 71 percent. 

DePaul’s 2014 Career Outcomes
Of 2014 graduates, 79 percent of bachelor’s degree recipients are employed, and 9 percent are continuing their education. Eighty-five percent of graduates in full-time roles are in jobs related to their degree. 

At the master’s level, 79 percent of graduates are employed. Ninety-three percent of graduates are employed in full-time roles related to their degree. Interestingly, 30 percent of master’s recipients are working in the nonprofit sector, compared to 15 percent of bachelor’s recipients. 

Consistent with national trends, a growing percentage of graduates are choosing self-employment and entrepreneurship as viable career options. Twenty-one percent of bachelor’s recipients and 16 percent of master’s recipients are employed in entrepreneurial, contract or freelance roles.

Since the survey questions changed in 2014 in alignment with the new NACE standards, the Career Center cannot compare this year’s rates with previous outcomes. 

National Comparisons
NACE compiled outcomes from 190 colleges and universities nationwide, representing 266,119 bachelor’s degree graduates, for national benchmarking. DePaul’s employment rate for bachelor’s recipients is 16 percentage points above the national average for graduates reported to NACE in 2014. 

NACE developed the new standards specifically to standardize data collection and reporting at the undergraduate level. NACE published standards for collecting graduate degree outcomes in June 2015 which will allow for future nationwide comparisons. 

DePaul is one of relatively few institutions nationwide with many years of experience in collecting and compiling this type of data.  The Career Center’s active collaboration with EMM’s Institutional Research and Market Analytics also sets DePaul apart from other universities whose career services teams independently collect data or whose institutional research teams gather data without input from career services. 

For more information, contact Gillian Steele, executive director for the Career Center.